Rick Kriseman raises $68K in final days of fundraising

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Halloween held more treats than tricks for Rick Kriseman as Thursday marked the last day of fundraising in the St. Petersburg mayoral election.

The former state representative, who leads by six points over incumbent Mayor Bill Foster, added just under $68,000 in the final 20 days of donations October 12-31. The $67,998, along with $13,389 of in-kind donations, leaves Kriseman with a comprehensive campaign cash haul of $331,441.

Unions once again came to Kriseman’s aid, with $500 checks from Miami’s IBEW Local 349, Ironworkers Local 397 from Mango, Teamsters Local 79, several of the Service Employees International Union chapters and the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices.

Regardless of the rhetoric by both candidates over the partisan nature of a previously non-partisan race, support from the state’s official political structure remained front and center. In Kriseman’s case, it is most notably by the state and county Democratic Party, which this time pitched in with $7,600 from the Pinellas County Executive committee and a $10,000 check from the Florida Democratic Party. The group also gave more than $13,000 in in-kind payments for staff salary and direct mail services.

Among the various advisers and political lobbyists joining to help Kriseman with $500 donations this reporting period include the Crossings at Cape Coral, Bay Area Citizens for Responsible Government, Susan Reiter Consulting, Kansas City-based civil engineering HNTB Corporation and progressive specialist Paige Carter-Smith.

Individual Democrats also lined up to leave treats in Kriseman’s Halloween bag — $1000 from former Gov. Charlie Crist and his wife, as well as $500 each from state Rep. Darryl Rouson’s law firm, influential St. Petersburg African-American figure Goliath Davis and Delaware Gov. Jack Markell.

As the campaign winds down — or heats up, to be more accurate — Kriseman’s campaign capitalized on  major media buys to light up the last of the undecided voters, which stands at nine percent of voters (as of the latest StPetePolls survey).

Overall, the campaign has spent $51,300 of $75,831 paid out in the closing days on a major media buy through Nashville-based Fletcher Rowley advertising agency.  

As of November 1, the ultimate price tag for Kriseman’s campaign stands at $319,005.91. Add to that the cash Foster spent in his early October campaign report (final numbers are still pending) total expenditures for both candidates stands at $503,834.

Considering the 55,088 voters who cast ballots in 2009, it translates to just under $9.15 per vote, so far. Foster’s final report could push that figure to over $10 a head.   

Kriseman now has more than $12,400 cash-on-hand, perhaps to throw a nice victory party on Tuesday night. 

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.